When I was a classroom teacher, I always had a binder handy with three days of sub plans on the ready. That got me to thinking: how do you do homeschooling when you are sick as a parent?
You can’t exactly call out sick, now, right? We’re doing kindergarten and preschool right now. But I thought I’d better start having a game plan for sick days. For me, since I can often (and quickly) suffer day-long migraines, this is just prudent, because I’ll usually have at least one “sick” day per month from those.
I tapped into some of my personal homeschooling friends to see what they do for homeschooling when they are sick. The answers were varied, and I think sometimes depended on factors like how many children they homeschool, how often they get sick (everyone’s tolerance for pushing through is different), and what kind of homeschooling they do.
Suggestions (mostly tech-free) for homeschooling when you are sick
Just take the day off.
Certainly there’s a case to be said for a “day off” every once in awhile. When you’re sick, if you have a family member or friend that could watch your kids while you recover, it certainly wouldn’t kill most people’s schedules.
Get out some workbooks.
I think having some special workbook or activity books on hand for sick days is a great idea. Especially if these are out of the ordinary activities that kids will be very curious and interested about. I like to use the Kumon workbooks for low days, because there’s still a lot of learning, but it’s colorful and fun. I’ve also been making up “quiet notebooks” for my boys using activity sheets in page protectors.
Hand Out the Quiet bins.
For younger children, bins of special toys and games can be a welcome treat that keeps them busy and unquiet while you rest.
Have older children teach the younger.
Teacher for a day is a great idea. Most older students have a handle on what the daily schedule is, can read aloud, and can guide young kids through some simple activities. I’ll have to save this idea for later as my boys aren’t quite at that age yet.
Reading is always a valuable activity for any day that doesn’t quite go to plan. If you’re able to talk while you’re sick, you could read, or have an older sibling read. Once kids are reading, this can be a useful task for any age range. With multiple kids, you can have them take turns reading various materials.
Books on Tape.
Akin to read-alouds, this can save your voice when you have a cold or flu. Also so helpful when you have younger or struggling readers. I’ve enjoyed Auidobooks for a wide selection of books in a range of levels.
Pick a movie that goes along with a book you’ve recently read. Allow children the fun of watching, and then later, perhaps when you’re well, you can have a valuable compare/contrast discussion about the book and movie!
Practice Life Skills.
Kids can cook, clean, and help run the house, practicing household skills, depending on their abilities.
Double up / Double down (so to speak).
Have kids work double on the subjects they can do independently (silent reading, handwriting, drawing, practicing instruments). When life is back to normal, do double on the teacher-led / one-on-one learning.
Board game day!
Board games and puzzles can provide valuable learning opportunities across various subjects. These materials often get neglected, so dust them off and let them save the day. (Note: if kids are young, be sure they know how to play the games already).
Organize Homeschooling When You Are Sick Plans in Advance
When I get sick, I generally get wiped out entirely. So for me it’s important to have a plan mapped out ahead of time. Sub plans, so to speak!
I’m putting together a list of easy materials, games, and ideas for sick days. I think for my boys young age, I’ll even put together a short schedule, to be sure I have enough materials to cover a day. This could also help out if I have to get a sitter for the day.
Would you share your ideas for homeschooling when you are sick? I’d love to have as many ideas as possible in my toolbox!
Have a different homeschooling situation? Check out The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew round up of posts about “Homeschooling When….”